LIV­ING THE DREAM

Pitcher Cody Pick named ‘player of the game’ at na­tion­als

Valley Journal Advertiser - - COVER STORY - SARA ERIC­S­SON KINGSCOUN­TYNEWS.CA

What do a grand­fa­ther, a father and a son have in com­mon? In Cody Pick’s case, one thing — base­ball.

Nine­teen-year-old Pick hails from Cam­bridge, and now plays as part of Saint Mary’s Univer­sity’s base­ball club team, which ad­vanced all the way to na­tion­als in Ot­tawa this fall.

The team was de­feated, but the tour­na­ment was a re­sound­ing vic­tory for Pick, who was dubbed the Player of the Game sev­eral times thanks to his pitch­ing prow­ess and split­ter pitches. The team lost 3-2 against Car­leton Univer­sity, but played a strong game that sur­prised top-ranked var­sity teams who saw the club team as un­der­dogs, says Pick.

“A split­ter breaks down, and has a good two-to-three-foot drop from where the ball starts. The other guys weren’t ex­pect­ing I’d throw that, and it re­ally showed,” he says.

Pick is in his sec­ond year of SMU’s crim­i­nol­ogy pro­gram and is a pitcher on the team’s ros­ter. He got his start play­ing base­ball in Kentville, with a pro­gram he said is a much smaller one than Hal­i­fax or Dart­mouth, but more spe­cial be­cause of it.

“I found that way I had a stronger bond and con­nec­tion with who I played with,” says Pick.

He also learned a lot of stuff from his dad, Richard, and grand­fa­ther, Karl, both of whom played base­ball as well.

“Ball went through the fam­ily,” laughs Pick as he re­calls spend­ing time with his father, who taught him the ropes — or rather pitches — and how to play the game prop­erly.

Pick says his father was with him ev­ery step of the way as he started in the sport’s house leagues and grad­u­ally found his stride.

“When I first started out, I wasn’t good — at all,” he says with a laugh.

He worked at it and started qual­i­fy­ing for com­pet­i­tive teams. He also played in high school while at­tend­ing Cen­tral Kings.

It was a sport he loved de­spite its chal­lenges and his slow progress, and Pick stuck it out and kept up his prac­tic­ing.

“I just kind of pounded down, prac­ticed, and fell in love with play­ing, watch­ing and liv­ing base­ball,” he says.

His com­mit­ment paid off, es­pe­cially when it came to his pitch­ing. While he could never mas­ter a bet­ter-than-av­er­age curve ball — a throw all pitch­ers tend to mas­ter first, ac­cord­ing to Pick — he was able to teach him­self to throw a mean split­ter, which is an even harder pitch for most.

It’s a pitch, Pick says, that is set to con­fuse the bat­ter its headed for be­cause of its slow ve­loc­ity. While his fast­balls av­er­age around 85 miles per hour per throw, his split­ters av­er­age around 70 and then drop low.

“I’ve only seen one other per­son I’ve played against be able to throw it. It’s a dif­fer­ent pitch, no one is used to it,” he says.

As his arm got bet­ter and his con­fi­dence in­creased, his dad re­mained by his side to talk him through the game and his strat­egy. He was also the one talk­ing Pick through his SMU try­outs in his rookie year.

When he’s not phys­i­cally with him at games, Pick says he keeps his father posted on how things go, no mat­ter what.

“Last year was my rookie year, and I filled him in on ev­ery­thing. He’s pretty proud I’ve made it this far with ball,” says Pick.

His team­mates have also sup­ported him through­out his time at the school, and even be­fore that. Pick says he’s played along­side nearly half the team at dif­fer­ent points over the years.

He says they had his back “the whole time” dur­ing that heated match against Car­leton, where ev­ery­thing seemed to go right for the pitcher de­spite the sub-zero tem­per­a­tures.

“I got com­fort­able up there, and was able to throw harder than I nor­mally have. I was our go-to pitcher that tour­na­ment, and the guys were al­ways there,” he says.

Pick still plays for Kentville dur­ing the sum­mers when he’s home from univer­sity. He plans on play­ing for SMU through­out his un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree, and wants to see the team reach na­tion­als again.

It was a big thrill for the young player, de­spite the team’s even­tual loss, he says.

“Our whole team was in it through the end. It felt good that way, and would’ve been nicer if we’d won, but that was my firstever big game. I’d never gone to na­tion­als be­fore, so to have a game like that was huge for me.”

CON­TRIB­UTED

Cody Pick, 19, is a base­ball pitcher cur­rently play­ing on the Saint Mary’s Univer­sity club team, which re­cently trav­eled to Ot­tawa for na­tion­als. Pick hails from Cam­bridge, and got his start play­ing in Kentville.

CON­TRIB­UTED

Cody Pick says his fam­ily and team “al­ways have his back,” and that at na­tion­als it was no dif­fer­ent.

CON­TRIB­UTED

Cody Pick was dubbed the player of the game dur­ing his team’s match against Car­leton Univer­sity at na­tion­als. De­spite los­ing 3-2, the team played hard, and Pick’s arm threw the dis­tinc­tive split­ter pitch he’s known for, one with a low ve­loc­ity and late drop that he says catches most play­ers off guard.

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